There’s a lot of information on hemp and CBD (cannabidiol) oil for dogs available. Claims of anxiety relief, pain relief, and increased lifespan are commonly stated, but it can be difficult to find the true effects of hemp oils and what they can do for your dog. However, Hemp seed oil is different since it’s produced from the hemp plant’s seeds rather than the plant’s flesh and leaves. Hemp or CBD oil for dogs is produced using strains of hemp that are low in THC (typically Cannabis sativa) rather than those with higher levels. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of cannabis and shouldn’t be given to dogs!
Hemp oils contain less than 0.3% THC concentration, making them suitable to give to most dogs. However, hemp oil does retain other cannabidiols, which can be beneficial for canines (and people), which we’ll cover below.
Is Hemp Oil Good for Dogs? What Is It Used For?
There have been some studies done recently that have highlighted the possible benefits hemp oil has for dogs. Humans have been tapping into the cannabis plant’s medicinal properties for hundreds of years, but we are only just seeing its potential in modern medicine. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and hundreds of hemp and CBD products for pets now flood the market. Hemp oil has been shown to help alleviate pain and relieve inflammation and may help dogs with epilepsy.
One of the most studied effects of hemp oil on dogs has to do with pain. Dogs with arthritis were given doses of CBD oil twice a day, and researchers measured their pain activity levels after 4 weeks. The study showed a marked and significant decrease in pain and an increase in activity,1 in dogs given the oil. This suggests that arthritic dogs, in particular, may benefit from being given hemp oil.
CBD may also help dogs with other inflammatory conditions (in theory). CBD is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect on many dogs by interacting with receptors in a part of a dog’s body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is known to modulate pain signals and activation of inflammation. More research needs to be done outside of osteoarthritis to be able to say CBD and hemp oil can definitely help.
Seizures and Epilepsy
Until recently, there was only anecdotal evidence that hemp and CBD oils worked to reduce seizures in dogs. A study conducted in 2022 saw promising results when dogs were given CBD oil,2 bolstering many owners’ claims that their dogs’ lives had improved after introducing the oil. However, this study only looked at the effectiveness of hemp oil when administered alongside other anti-seizure medication, so more studies need to be done to fully understand the potential effects cannabidiol might have on dogs with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
Very few studies have investigated the effectiveness of hemp oil as an “anti-cancer” treatment. Cancer is a broad term that encompasses many types of cell mutations, so it’s likely that CBD would have different levels of effectiveness on each type of canine cancer. More studies need to be performed to confirm the effectiveness of hemp oil or CBD in treating canine cancers before veterinary medicine can use it further.
Recently, studies have looked into the behavioral effects of hemp oil on dogs. Dogs that are anxious or suffer from separation anxiety may benefit from a dose of hemp oil; studies have shown that even a single dose of THC-free CBD oil can positively affect a dog’s mood and anxiety levels.3 Many hemp treats and oils claim to have calming effects, but you should be cautious since different doses work differently on each dog, and there isn’t enough research to fully support these claims yet.
Are There Any Risks to Using Hemp Oil on My Dog?
While there can be benefits of using hemp oil, there are also risks you should be aware of. Like any medication (even if it’s natural), hemp oil can cause side effects. There are well-documented side effects of CBD use in people, which could also apply to your dog.
Before you give your dog hemp oil, always speak to your vet first to make sure it is suitable for them. Dogs with underlying health conditions may be more at risk of adverse effects and it may interact with other medications.
Hemp and CBD oil are usually safe if given at the correct doses, and there has been some research done into the safety of CBD and hemp products that prove it. However, some research indicated that there may be adverse changes to the liver when very high doses of hemp oil are given. If your dog suffers from any liver problems, refrain from using hemp or CBD oils until you’ve run it by your vet.
Will Hemp Oil Get My Dog High?
Hemp oil cannot get your dog high! Hemp oil contains a very low dose of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC works slightly differently from CBD in the body. While both substances bind to cannabinoid systems in the body, THC binds to receptors in the brain that cause the “high.” CBD reacts differently and follows different pathways, which means dogs won’t get the heady, euphoric effects that THC causes.
Can I Give My Dog Cannabis?
You cannot give your dog cannabis. Cannabis contains high amounts of THC and is incredibly toxic to dogs. If a dog ingests cannabis, they will exhibit signs of toxicity between 30 and 60 minutes after it’s taken, and they’re all unpleasant. Dogs have more brain receptors that respond to cannabinoids than people, so their bodies respond more strongly to cannabis.
Unfortunately, THC is stored in the body’s fat deposits, so the effects of cannabis toxicity can last for days. You should avoid giving your dog any THC products, including baked goods, teas, or inhaled cannabis. If you think your dog has ingested marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, they should be taken straight to the vet.
Hemp oil has many potential uses for dogs thanks to cannabidiols and their effects on the body. Hemp seed oil differs from hemp/CBD oil, and it’s pressed from the hemp plant’s seeds rather than taken from the leaves, flowers, and stems. Hemp oil can help dogs with pain, and there is promising research that it could help dogs suffering from epilepsy or anxiety problems too. Before you try hemp oil on your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian. There are always dangers with any drug, despite hemp oil generally being safe for dogs to consume.
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